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Stronger With You

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Log Date 7 11 2
I received this primitive vocal recording device from the Cole. He says that it's to replace my enhancers, but something so rudimentary could never replace such complex, delicate machinery. I have no idea what his intentions are, but he has thus far proven his superiority in knowledge of this planet and its customs. It would be wise to not earn his ire.

Furthermore, the Cole has told me to simply call him ‘Cole’. A designation, he explains. I suppose it makes sense, though I hesitate to follow everything he says without question. But again, he has otherwise shown himself a reliable authority on the planet’s traditions. If I am to learn as much as possible while I am here, then I guess there is nothing wrong with just calling him… Cole.

Log Date 7 11 3
Today I saw again the other organic lifeform that associates itself with the Crystal Clods. Our first meeting in 'the bathroom' was notably less than ideal, as I was at that point being held captive. I attempted to initiate communications with it in this more favorable context.

Cole has informed me that the name of this other organic being is 'his dad' and so I addressed it as such. ‘His dad’ did not seem appreciative of this. Amethyst informed me later that I should have called it 'Hank'.

I do not understand why the organic lifeforms here have so many designations to go by. Perhaps Cole with his considerable knowledge of Earth will have the answers to these questions.

Log Date 7 11 4
Cole has informed me that I should have indeed addressed it as 'Hank' as 'his dad' is a personal designation that only Cole should use. A personal designation — a sign of close relations, I assume. These humans have many strange customs.

The 'Hank' is around again today, even though the Crystal Clods are not. He is currently on the roof of this primitive construct I am occupying and patching up the giant hole the Pearl left in it the other day.

Many specimens on this plant have exhibited signs of flight capabilities. This 'Hank' is currently at an elevated height. Perhaps this is a good time to test whether all organisms on this planet have such capabilities.

“Uh… Peridot, right?”


“Right. Look, I know we didn’t get off to a great start, but you did kind of kidnap Cole and he’s my kid, y’know?”


“Not saying I forgive you, but I know you also weren’t having the best time and—Jesus fucking Christ!

Log Date 7 11 4-2
My theory has been proven incorrect. Additionally, the 'Hank' did not seemed pleased with my experiment and expressed anger.

The fusion informs me that humans do not like being pushed from elevated heights. My personal opinion is that an organic lifeform of that size should have been able to withstand something so minor.

Log Date 7 11 5
Cole told me that I should apologize to the 'Hank' for pushing him off the roof. Upon asking why, he said that it is rude to push people off high surfaces because they can be injured. Once again I expressed my opinion that such a large lifeform should be able to withstand an impact of that magnitude. Cole informed me that humans are different from gems, to which I responded that I was already aware of that fact.

Still, Cole has taught me a lot about Earth, and I do not wish to displease him. When the 'Hank' came around later I approached it and expressed my apologies in the manner that Cole showed me. The 'Hank' seems to have begrudgingly accepted it, and also says that I should simply call it 'Hank'. Just Hank, just as how it is apparently just Cole.

Humans truly have strange ways of addressing themselves and each other. I will have to ask Cole more about it sometime.

Log Date 7 11 6
Today I was assigned cleaning duty — cleaning duty! As if I'm the Pearl. These Crystal Clods have such an appalling chain of command. It's a wonder they've managed to last for all these years when they can't even get something this basic right.

Admittedly, there is something enjoyable in the monotony of these duties. In addition, I discovered a stash of Earth-variant appearance modifiers while performing the aforementioned cleaning. To imagine! Appearance modifiers that don't meld onto your body! Earth really does have some odd ideas.

...I decided to try them on. I found the texture of these modifiers to be rather comfortable, but ultimately too restraining once I attempted the tenth layer. Getting out out them also proved to be a challenge, and only doable upon arrival of the—Hank.

Hank seemed to take amusement at my predicament. I find myself unappreciative of said amusement.

Log Date 7 12 2
Today marks the thirtieth Earth rotation since my... capture. Cole brought me a gift in commemoration of the event, though I do not see how a pair of primitive metal containers gives any kind of positive connotation to this apparent celebration. That said, the flame design on them are... acceptable.

While Cole and the rest of the Crystal Clods left for something called 'dinner' I attempted to put them on my feet, as suggested. They did indeed make me taller, and the elevated height is particularly useful for gaining access to things once beyond my reach. They even function in reverse!

However, their balance is somewhat off-putting. Keeping them on for long periods of time is inadvisable. The fact that Hank saw me in them and mentioned that I 'looked goofy' does not help either.

Hank is, in my opinion, a very aggravating human.

Log Date 7 12 4
I found a book about human verbally communicated humor and attempted some examples listed in it. As Hank is the only human around — Cole is, after all, a fusion — I was forced to try it on him.

“Why did the chicken cross the road?”

“ get to the other side.”

“Hahaha—oh, wait. Am I supposed to laugh if you already know the answer?”

“Oh, boy.”

Hank said I should have picked a better joke. I asked if it was because I needed to know what a chicken is. He did not respond to my query.

I do not understand why he is here when he isn't a gem like everyone else. Amethyst says it’s because Hank has the best understanding of human technology, but Cole should have that same knowledge as well. Just exactly what advantage do humans have that leads the Crystal Clods to keep one around?

Log Date 7 12 7
One thing that humans are apparently good at is filling the void of their lives with meaningless distractions. One such distraction is called a television — a primitive image and video display device — that shows pre-recorded entertainment known as 'shows'.

Cole has attempted to show me what he says is a 'guilty pleasure' (why would guilt be derived from pleasure? Human phrases are so frequently contradictory). From what I am able to surmise it is a narrative story centered around a robot created in the image of a human — there are worse forms to follow, I suppose — working with a human in law enforcement.

What ridiculous drivel. But since I do not have anything else to do, I suppose it doesn't hurt to try and see what it is about this prerecorded entertainment that has Cole's approval.

Log Date 7 12 7-2
I can see why Cole enjoys this show. It is rather engaging to an extent. There was something near the end that caught my attention...

A rewatch might be worthwhile.

Log Date 7 12 7-3
Connor is fascinating. Why is he so willing to work with humans in a society that doesn't appreciate him? His partner is unappreciative of him as well, but simultaneously encourages Connor to formulate his own opinions beyond his programming. Especially in that scene where—

—hm. I seem to have forgotten. I need to rewatch that scene again.

Log Date 7 12 7-4
Henry seems to be a human of many personal issues. Though not explicitly shown, he clearly displays irrational reactions to certain events that happen throughout the show. I wonder if I'll ever be able to figure out what these issues are. Maybe Connor might be able to help him through them.

Log Date 7 13 1
Connor is an admirable robot.

It would be nice to be like him.

Log Date 7 13 1-2
Well, first of all, Connor and Henry clearly have the best dynamic in this show. The two of them fit together in a way that makes up for the weaknesses they otherwise have alone. As long as the two of them work together, it's clear that they'll outdo any of the other pairs that are in the BPD. In addition, you see in the scene where Connor begins to—

Log Date 7 13 1-3

Log Date 7 13 1-4
Hank came over to my current organic residence to retrieve Cole but stayed to listen to my explanation on why Henry and Connor are the best duo in the show.

Apparently, Henry is also a designation that Hank goes by. I asked if he worked with a robot named Connor in a law enforcement agency known as the BPD. He said no. least it would make sense why the Crystal Gems enlisted his help if he did. Disappointing.

Log Date 7 13 2
Progress on the Cluster Drill is going—optimally. Surprisingly so. Though I may have a few reservations about the work ethic of—

A loud ruff interrupts her recording (as well as her train of thought). Peridot lets out what is most certainly not a yelp and drops her tape recorder onto the ground. Fortunately, despite its primitive make, the device is a lot more durable than it first seems. Peridot would certainly hate for her logs to be… interrupted.

Next to her comes a familiar, barking laugh that could only belong to Amethyst. Peridot scowls and bends down to swipe the tape recorder from the floor back into her hand. “I fail to see what about that was so amusing.”

Amethyst scoffs. “God, you’re such a drag,” she responds, still in the form of the giant canine creature that Peridot sometimes sees with the Crystal Gems. “I’m just here trying to make sure we all don’t work ourselves to the bone.”

Silence. Peridot tilts her head at Amethyst, attempting to comprehend the last part of her response. Close by she hears Pearl making a muffled sound beneath the metal mask currently worn over her face.

Amethyst sighs. “You guys are such a tough crowd,” she mutters, then changes back into her usual form. Though it is far from the first time that Peridot has witnessed her shapeshifting powers, they’ve previously been employed in a useful manner. To use it for entertainment is at best illogical.

“Do you…” she starts, then stops, wondering if she should actually ask the question. It sounds foolish even in her head, but her desire to know triumphs over her hesitance and uncertainty. “Do you always use shapeshifting in this capacity?”

“You mean to be cool?” she responds with one raised eyebrow. Before Peridot can continue with the line of inquiry Amethyst shapeshifts again—this time to an almost splitting image of herself. Well, of a Peridot. There are many other Peridots like her. It’s not as if she’s the only Peridot in existence.

(But she is the only Peridot here, though, isn’t she? That had to mean something, surely.)

Peridot finds herself staring at Amethyst’s shifted form for perhaps a beat too long. Amethyst clears her throat and Peridot blinks to focus back on the present. The smirk on Amethyst’s face is all too smug when she speaks. “Pretty much.”

Peridot makes a face. “But that’s such a significant waste of resources—”

“—when compared to the output!”

Peridot blinks once again, because that had certainly not just been her voice alone. “Wha?” she asks, arms lowering back down to her sides since she had been gesticulating with them in her previous reply.

Amethyst grins back at her. It's definitely strange to see herself making an expression that she never remembers making. An odd kind of dissonance, except it shouldn’t matter, because she’s only one of countless other Peridots and it’s not like any of them are identical. No gem is ever cut the same, after all.

“Like it?” Amethyst asks, and her words rouse Peridot from her thoughts once more. “I’ve been practicing my Peri-phrasing. Pretty impressive in my opinion, though it certainly can’t beat the real thing.”

The ‘real thing’ meaning—oh. Peridot feels herself flush in spite of everything. Quartz soldiers like Amethyst do have a modicum of respect back in Homeworld; even if the hierarchy isn’t quite the same here, it is a fact that Amethyst is still, well, an Amethyst. For a lowly Peridot like her to get such a compliment from a Quartz is… nice.

“I’m always open for requests, too.” Peridot glances back at her, blinking as she shifts back into her original form once again. “Got anything in mind?”

Peridot considers her options. “Well, there is one thing…”


She watches the strange, feathery creature run around the grounds of the barn, hearing it shout ‘I’m a chicken!’ in Amethyst’s amused, energetic voice. “...I still do not get the joke.”

A small snort, and the shuffling sounds of somebody else coming up to her. Peridot turns and see that it is—the human. The full human. Hank.

She narrows her eyes. Hank either does not notice or has chosen to ignore her reaction to his arrival, because he simply goes on to speak, unruffled. “Don’t worry, it took me years before the joke finally clicked with me.”

“Explain it to me, then.”

Hank rolls his eyes. “Explaining it means the joke is ruined,” he replies. “Besides, it's not like you’d understand anyway.”

How could she understand if he didn’t even bother to try explaining to her? Peridot makes a frustrated sound and glares at him, but Hank refuses to budge. He simply gazes amusedly at Amethyst running around until the quartz falls down into a drainage system, at which point Hank goes over to pick her up.

She watches him as he retreats into the distance, a million questions still competing in her mind.

The company of the Crystal Gems is something that I can at least appreciate. Though we are on opposing sides, we are all at least Gems, and Gems are something that I can understand. Cole is… strange, but he has been helpful and open and agreeable and I find his company enjoyable. Hank, however.

Hank’s hierarchy and place with the Gems—eludes me. I still am unable to fathom his reason for being in the group, simply because he appears to have none. So why is he here? I cannot find an answer to this question.

Perhaps the answer if that he has no value at all, but then it stands to ask why the Crystal Gems continue to have him around. What use is an individual when they have no utility?

Peridot clicks the record button on her tape recorder pointedly and begins to talk into it. "Log date 7 14 2," she begins, casting her eyes upward, and then slightly over to the place where Hank is resting on several bales of hay. "Cole has come by the barn to measure my progress. 'Just checking you're doing okay', he said, which I found a ludicrous suggestion at best. I am always in optimal condition. 'Okay' is wildly inaccurate."

Peridot rolls her eyes at the recollection, but not without a degree of begrudging fondness. Cole is an enigma at times, and his words and actions range from 'odd' to, at times, 'entirely incomprehensible', but he has been kind to her. And he's smart, moreso than she'd expect from a Quartz, albeit one with some kind of mutation. She's gone through a few theories on why that might be, but she can't back it up with any kind of data. Hank had protested when she proposed some more rigorous testing.

She looks at him again, eyes narrowed, and continues the log. "Cole was accompanied by Hank, who insisted he was 'keeping an eye on things'. I was excited to finally see him demonstrate some kind of unique ability, though the utility of removable body parts is arguable at best, but he failed to remove his eye and place it anywhere."

"Jesus Christ," Hank mumbles. Peridot ignores him.

"Perhaps he meant that he was going to keep his eye right where it was on his body. How useful. I am being sarcastic, for the record."

Hank is glaring at her, but Peridot has been glared at many times since arriving to this planet, and it hasn't stopped her yet. "I suppose I was giving him too much credit. I have already determined that Hank holds little to no value in the makeup of this group—"

"Are you always a d—" Hank looks over at where Cole is resting in the barn and makes a face before continuing. "Jerk, or am I just special?"

Peridot clicks off the tape recorder, gazing coolly at him. "I believe I just made the point that you are not. Is it your hearing or memory that is impaired?"

"God!" Hank crosses his arms, scowling. "I don't even—he told me to try with you, but—you're so—"

Peridot continues to gaze at him, raising one eyebrow. Being insulted is another thing she is not unfamiliar with. Even prior to her arrival on this planet, gems had often underestimated her. It's one of the reasons she had always endeavored to be the best. And… also because she wanted to serve her Diamond, of course.

Maybe not so much now, but that's something she doesn't like to think about.

Hank shakes his head, looking away. "Never mind."

"You do mind," Peridot points out, "Or you wouldn't have said anything. However, I still do not understand where I have made any inaccurate statements. Garnet, Pearl, and Amethyst, are all, in their own ways, gifted warriors. Cole is young, but he has his—" Her mouth twists around the unfamiliar wording. "—Mother's shield and healing ability. The Crystal Gems are fundamentally a rebel organization against an incredibly powerful martial force. Am I incorrect in my evaluation that you do not have any particular battle prowess?"

Hank taps his fingers on his arms, and Peridot idly notices that they are broad. If he were a gem he would probably be quite strong. "Yeah, I guess if you're thinking of it like that… but, you know, most of the people on Earth aren't, uh. Battling anybody. So that's not what makes you worth something, and it's considered… not too nice to tell people they don't mean anything."

"Hm." Peridot tilts her head, a bit dismissive, but she is presently here in part to learn about the local culture. "What is it that makes you worth something on this planet, then?"

"I guess that's kind of the big question, isn't it," Hank mutters, then turns fully towards Peridot to fix his whole attention on her. "I think a lot of people would give you different answers, but… I don't know, personally what makes me feel like I belong here is being Cole's dad. Being around to listen to him when he needs to talk, just to give him a hug sometimes, to remind him he has some human in him too. You know?"

Peridot doesn't. She listens anyway, out of curiosity.

"I know I can't help much with the gem sh—" Another glance at Cole. "Stuff. But I want to be here for him if he needs me. 'Cause he's my son, and because I love him."

"Love," Peridot says musingly. "Like Henry and Connor, you mean."

"Oh my god," he mutters. "Uh. No. Not like that at all. Different kinds of love. Henry and Connor from your show maybe have—"

"Definitely have," Peridot interrupts vehemently.

"Sure, fine, whatever. They have this romantic thing going on, and if—when—uh, you know what I mean, the love they have there is like, the kind where two people meet each other and feel like they make each other better, like—and also the kind with kissing."

"What's that?" Peridot asks, propping a curious hand under her chin, leaning forward slightly. If there’s an element missing from her chart, she’d like to know.

"Jesus fucking Christ," Hank says, eyes going round and a bit horrified, looking back into the barn and then back at Peridot. "God. No. Nope. I'm not doing that with you."


"God! No! I—no, I mean no, but also—no, not like—I'm not explaining the birds and the bees to you, Christ!"

"Cole has already explained both birds and bees to me," Peridot informs Hank smugly, and he makes a strangled choking noise. "The birds are the ones that fly and make a lot of noise in the morning and the bees are the ones that also fly, but they're smaller and they hurt if you try to eat them."

"Eat?" Hank asks confusedly, then raises a hand. "No. Never mind. I don't wanna know. Okay, uh—let's just move on, yeah? My point is there's not just romantic love. You can also love your friends, like, you think they're great and wanna spend time with them. You can love your family—like, Cole grew up with Garnet and Pearl and Amethyst, he loves them, but in a different way than—than Connor and Henry. And you can love your kid." Hank's eyes go a bit unfocused. "When me and Rose decided to have Cole—I was so scared. And, I mean, I still am in a lot of ways, but Cole—Cole is… amazing. From the first time I saw him, I knew that, and I love him. He's better than I could ever be, and… if I'm worth anything, then it's because I played even a small part in who he is, and maybe in who he'll become. So that's, uh. That's why I'm here."

Peridot stares at him, processing, then nods. "So you're here because he is."

"Yeah, I guess."

"I suppose I am too, then." She pauses. "But different. I'm not his dad."

Hank chuckles, and she peeks at him irritably. He looks better when he's laughing. Less—tired. "Yeah, uh. Jeez. Yeah, you aren't his dad. But he likes you, I know that."

She nods, a small smile stealing onto her face for a moment before it drops again. "Hank. You said if."


"You said 'if you're worth anything'. Are you uncertain?"

Hank physically draws back, like she had punched him. She hadn't, of course. There is not presently a reason to do so. "I—I mean—nah. Nah, of course not."

He does not look like he is being truthful, but frankly, Peridot doesn't really care enough to find out why. Humans are already so confusing, and this one increasingly so.

She doesn't respond, just tilts her head back to look at the stars again. Everything seems so big out here, sometimes. Sometimes it makes her feel… not big. Small, even.

Are you uncertain?

She would not like to think about this either.

She raises her tape recorder to her mouth and clicks the 'record' button. The sound of the tape rolling is much more comforting than the silence. It makes her feel like she doesn't have to be big, or small, just—here. Just talking, making her mark in the only way she can right now.

"Log date 7 14 2 dash 2. I have just had an enlightening conversation with the human Hank about the nature of human relationships."

Out of her periphery, Hank drags a big hand over his face. She ignores him again.

"He says there are many different kinds of love here—the kind Henry and Connor feel for one another, the kind a friend feels for another friend, the kind family feels. The kind parents feel. It appears the latter leads to a kind of obligation, but also a sort of pride. I am not fully certain I understand this, or that I understand Hank."

He makes a low groaning noise, and she hesitates before adding the last part. She would like, after all, to be an accurate recordkeeper.

"But I would like to try."

Hank starts next to her, flashing a look at her. It would be inaccurate to say she ignores him, but she is not putting this in the record, after all. "It might aid me in cataloguing human behavior, after all. Hank is the closest fully human research subject I have available."

"Research subject?" Hank squawks.

"Hank, please, I'm attempting to record," she says.

"I'm not a fu—freaking research subject, Peridot!"

"I'm sure you feel that way," she says dismissively, and clicks off the recording again, hopping off the bales of hay to find something more interesting to do than listen to Hank be noisy. She could rewatch that show again and try and find mention of 'kissing'. It wouldn't do to have an incomplete record of their relationship, after all.

(Inside the barn, Cole smiles to himself. He's been a bit worried that Peridot and his dad aren't getting along, but after tonight, he thinks they can be friends eventually. His dad could use a friend who understands him, and Peridot could use someone to show her what being human is all about. Cole can only do so much, after all, and his dad is the best human he knows. They could be good for each other if they'd stop fighting.

Well, they'll get there, he thinks, and closes his eyes again.)

Log Date 7 15 1
Today Cole showed me something called… ‘music’. A series of vibrations in the air picked up as sound waves by one's auditory senses. Inconsequential patterns put together into a manner deemed pleasing due to the satisfaction of completing a cycle.

He has said that I should write a 'song’ and show it to him and gave me a sample piece to work with. I have studied it and figured out it's patterns quickly enough. Do Mi So Ti. Fa Mi So La. Incredibly simple, but then again Earth is a primitive place. I suppose it is not surprising.

Hank has offered his help in this matter. He has shown me some of his songs, most of which feature much louder beats and and heavier rhythms compared to what Cole originally played. It is… full of energy.

I suppose there is no reason not to give it a try. It might be a worthwhile mental exercise.

Life and death and love and birth and peace and war on the planet Earth...

Hank quietly steps into the barn as Cole discusses with the Crystal Gems what to do with Peridot. He hadn’t really been told the full story, but what he has heard is enough to give him pause. He always understood that what Rose had been fighting for was something important and worthwhile, but to imagine it’d be something of that scale…

It’s almost impossible to wrap his mind around it. When it comes to Gem-related things Hank has always felt like a stranger to everything, but now it just feels outright surreal.

Peridot continues to thrash and shout inside the truck that Cole locked her in. A lot of what she shouts involves the word ‘clod’ in some way. He doesn’t think that applies to him directly, but it’s easy enough to understand that the word is an insult.

“If you keep that up, they’ll have even less of a reason to listen to you.”

Hank doesn’t know if his voice is loud enough to go through the glass, but it must be because Peridot suddenly falls silent, her eyes wide as she lands her gaze upon him. He steps closer to the truck, and she scuttles up to press herself against the glass. “Hank! Let me out of here!”

“Nuh uh. Can’t do that.” It’s rare to see Cole so angry. Peridot must have done something really bad to deserve it. He’s pretty sure that letting her out would just make things worse, and that’s the last thing anybody wants. “Use your time in there to sit down and think about why you got all of them so mad at you.” Hell, Hank feels a tinge of anger himself, even if most of it flies over his head. But it's not hard to understand what ‘destruction of Earth’ means.

Peridot makes some kind of strangled, choked sound. “They don’t understand!” she shouts, pounding her fist once against the glass. “They’re so wrapped up with things here they can’t see the big picture! I’m just trying to help!”

“By—what? Talking to your boss?”

Yes!” the response almost comes out as a screech, and Hank can’t quite stop the wince that crosses his face. “Yellow Diamond is the fairest, most objective, most perfect decision maker across the whole universe. Once she hears me out she’s bound to understand where I’m coming from!”

Somehow Hank has the distinct feeling that that isn’t going to be the case, but he also has a feeling that Peridot isn’t going to listen to him about this. When it comes to things about Homeworld, she has always been incredibly obstinate about her beliefs. At the same time, however… “Then you could have just told Cole and the Gems about this plan instead of being quiet about it.” And now that silence has cost her their faith in her. It can’t feel great. Not that Hank is entirely on Peridot’s side, but… he knows a thing or two about not having anybody who believes in you.

Peridot makes a face at the suggestion. “You know how they are. They’ll never believe me.”

Not exactly something Hank can argue against. As far as he’s come to understand these Diamonds were not beings to be trifled with. All the same—“Doesn’t hurt to try, right? It’s better than keeping quiet and them suspecting you.”

“I…” Peridot looks like she wants to say something, only to falter. She casts her gaze to the side and Hank sees a frown appearing on her face, seemingly deep in thought. Were his words getting through to her? He doesn’t want to presume, but it would be nice if they did. Hank certainly doesn’t want even more of a rift to happen between Peridot and the rest of the Gems. She’s all alone here, after all, and to isolate her even more would just… hurt.

(Hank tries not to dwell too much on the fact that he’s come to look out for her well-being perhaps a bit more than what is strictly necessary. She’s not used to Earth, after all, and despite all her bluster he knows she’s alone and afraid. He wants to do whatever he can to show her that everything’s not that all bad.)

“I know there are some things you don’t want to talk about,” he starts slowly, trying to find the words to speak even as he voices them out for Peridot to hear. “And I understand that. But this is more than just you or the Gems. This is about the Earth, and everything that lives on it. Do you really want it gone because of something like this?”

He sees the way that Peridot flinches and knows that he’s said the right thing. He’s seen her fascination with Earth, has witnessed it for himself as her understanding of this planet grows with every step of the way. He knows that she enjoys Earth in her own way, and he thinks she doesn’t want it gone, too. That’s why she’s even doing any of this in the first place—there’d be no point in contacting her boss if things still go as planned for the Cluster to emerge.

“I…” Peridot starts again, then stops, taking another moment for herself before she looks over to Hank. “Alright. If you let me out, I’ll go and talk to the Gems.”

Hank squints at her through the glass. “You promise?”

“...yes, I promise.”

Well, if she promises, then there’s no reason to doubt her, right? She’s weird, but not dishonest. Hank maintains a wary look but reaches down to undo the lock of the car and open the door. “Alright, but I think I should—” He doesn’t get to finish his sentence because in the very next moment Peridot throws herself at him with enough force to make Hank topple onto the ground. His head collides on the floor none too gently, and the impact leaves him woozy long enough for Peridot to scrabble off him and begin making her way away from him.

Hank takes longer than he expects to get back up, head still throbbing from the fall. “Peridot, you—”

“You’re so gullible, Hank! Now, get out of the way before I crush you!”

The familiar rumbling of an engine starts to sound, and Hank only has a split second to duck away before a giant, robotic clawed foot lands on where he had been standing just moments ago.

Christ, Hank thinks to himself as he watches Peridot smashing through the wall of the barn with her robot. I hope Garnet and the rest don’t kill me for this.

Every Gem that is born is also born with the knowledge and implicit understanding of which Diamond they were created for. Peridot has known from the very beginning that she was made to serve Yellow Diamond, the most rational and logical being across the entire universe. It is a privilege to work for her, to know that everything she does is for a cause that only somebody as perfect as a Diamond could ever lead.

But though she has known about Yellow Diamond and has served under her cause for her entire life thus far, all that she has ever seen of her are murals and statues carved in her image; after all, a lowly Peridot such as herself doesn’t have any reason to even get close to any gem in direct contact with Yellow Diamond.

Yet here she is now, staring at the very Diamond she serves, caught in awe and fear at the very sight of her even if it's through a communication channel. Her Diamond, perfection incarnate—there is nothing that could compare to this.

It takes a beat for her to regain her composure. A lowly Peridot should not be wasting the precious time that her Diamond would give to her.

“M—My Diamond,” she starts, saluting. The gesture feels odd, somehow, even though she’s done it countless times back in Homeworld. Her hands feel clumsy, uncoordinated. Strange how just a short period on Earth could make everything feel so different now.

But those are all things to consider later, when she is far away from this planet. “Peridot, reporting in.”

Yellow Diamond doesn’t so much as glance at her. “Which Peridot.”

The answer is right there, on her lips, but somehow she feels herself hesitating. There are countless other Peridots in Homeworld and across the universe. She knows that for a fact. It’s not as if Yellow Diamond is supposed to know all of them—that’d be ridiculous. There are much better things for a Diamond to do than to know every single one of her subjects.

She knows all this, and yet—why does it feel so painful to hear that question? Even if she is the only Peridot in this area, it's not as if it's Yellow Diamond’s duty to know. She’s just a Peridot. Nothing but a lowly Peridot.

“F-Facet-3RK8, Cut-5IO.” Just like with the salute, the designation feels foreign coming from her. The last time she had to state it was back in Homeworld, right before… right before her assignment to Earth, and then she got stuck, and Jasper went missing, and there were all the Crystal Clods and the human and—

Focus. She needs to focus. “I apologize for contacting you this way, my Diamond, but virtually all other forms of communication have been cut and I was forced to—” She stops when Yellow Diamond raises a hand in her direction. In the distance she can see the familiar screens of mission reports and status logs.

“It says here that you are behind on your mission to…” Yellow Diamond trails off, staring at the screen for a moment longer. Peridot feels that moment stretching onto an eternity. She wonders if she should attempt to try and straighten out her hair again, but she’s made many attempts since losing her limb enhancers and none of them have ever succeeded. Still, she is facing her Diamond, so the least she can do is to try and look presentable—

“Tell me,” comes the voice of Yellow Diamond, and Peridot snaps back to attention, stopping the insistent twitching of her hands. “How is… the Earth?”

Yellow Diamond turns to face her fully with those words, and the weight of her glare instantly reminds Peridot of all the defects that she is showing right now. Her without her limb enhancers, without her ship and Jasper and everything else that she had with her when she first departed from Homeworld. Even her hair is in disarray, and Peridot is pointedly reminded of the look that Yellow Diamond’s Pearl had given her, along with her offhand remark at how she looked nothing like a proper Peridot.

Just one of the consequences of being created in Era 2. Peridot’s heard that comment countless times, but somehow that particular one cuts especially deep. Still, what she feels isn’t—isn’t important. It has never been important. She is just one Peridot among many others. What she needs to do now is to respond to her Diamond’s inquiries.

“It’s, um.” The words are harder to come out that she expects them to. Peridot has to take a moment to properly steel herself before she tries again. “It’s… full of—life.” So much life, so much energy and mystery and everything else and surely, surely once she makes it clear enough Yellow Diamond would understand—

The expression on Yellow Diamond’s face twists ever so slightly. “Organic life,” she all but sneers, and Peridot feels a pit opening up at the bottom of her stomach. Part of her knows—she knows that perhaps what she says may not be enough to convince Yellow Diamond, but she has to believe. Yellow Diamond has been everything in her life. She is who she has been made for in the first place. She has to understand—she has to.

Peridot opens her mouth to try and start speaking, but Yellow Diamond cuts her short. “Where is the Jasper I assigned you? And why are you calling through the Diamond line instead of the communicator on your ship?”

“The… the ship was—um.” Peridot almost glances over to where she knows Cole and the rest of the Crystal Gems are hiding but just manages to stop herself from doing so. If Yellow Diamond were to know about them… if she were to know about Hank, she would…

She forces herself to keep her gaze on Yellow Diamond. “The ship was destroyed.”

Yellow Diamond instantly narrows her gaze. “By whom?” she asks, her voice carrying more than a latent hint of a threat.

Yeah, telling Yellow Diamond about Cole and Hank and the rest wouldn’t make things any better. She may not be on good terms with them, especially now, but she certainly doesn’t want them destroyed. “Nobody. Nobody did anything. There was just an… accident… while we were… landing.” Peridot couldn’t stop the cringe that crosses her face even if she tried. That had to be by far the worst lie she has ever told—not that she has… lied a lot in the past, but. Even she could tell that her words were hardly convincing.

Judging by the expression on Yellow Diamond’s face, it's safe to say that she really isn’t buying it either. “I’ll have to personally inform your manager about your… incompetence.

Peridot shrinks even more at those words. All this time she’s tried so hard to be better, to be able to stand out despite being an Era 2 gem, but right now she can only feel everything she’s worked for crumbling into dust around her. There is no way she can ever recover from all the losses she’s had here when she returns to Homeworld. Unless…

Again she tries to start speaking, but yet again she is cut off by another question from her Diamond. “What is the status of the Cluster?”

The Cluster will be contained by the Gems, is on the tip of her tongue, but somehow she can’t quite voice those words. Even if she leaves, the Gems have the drill and the coordinates from the moon base. There’s no doubt that they’ll be able to contain the cluster even without her around. But if Yellow Diamond knew…

She swallows down the words and says something else entirely. “The Cluster will… it will be emerging soon.”

“Good.” It’s all too easy to hear the venom in Yellow Diamond’s voice from that one word alone. “We’ll finally get some use out of that miserable planet.”

The Earth… miserable? Peridot can’t help but stare, too stunned to react in any other way. How could—how could Yellow Diamond think that way? Could she not see the countless possibilities that the Earth could offer? To waste all of that potential on something like a weapon is just—just so illogical. She can’t understand. Can’t understand why Yellow Diamond doesn’t see it when she should.

Countless thoughts swirl in her mind, but the voice of her Diamond’s words cuts through them like a sharpened blade against a veil. “Thank you for your report, Peridot. A ship will be sent to your location and take you to your next assignment.”

That was—well it is good, but also not good at the same time. Peridot scrambles before Yellow Diamond can cut the connection, shouting out loud, “Wait!”

Yellow Diamond pauses. Even though the communicator Peridot can feel the impatience radiating off from her, and quickly continues to speak. “I—I wouldn’t have called you just to waste your time with a report.”

Once again, her gaze narrows. “You already have,” she returns icily, and Peridot feels the weight of her imperfections yet again. How could a lowly Peridot like her talk to a Diamond like this? It's so wrong, it goes everything she’s ever learned, but at the same time it's… it's different. Different like how Earth is different than she thought before coming here, so vibrant and full of life and nothing like any of the other planets she’s been to. She just has to let Yellow Diamond know that.

“I, well, I mean. There’s another reason I called—the real reason.” She gives herself one more moment. This is her time to shine, to prove herself. She has to do it. She just has to. “I… I believe we should terminate the Cluster and leave Earth as it is.”

A pause. Peridot feels the weight of her Diamond’s gaze multiply by a hundredfold. “Why,” comes the question, eventually. Just that, but it’s enough to make Peridot want to tremble where she stands. But she can’t give in now. She has to stay strong. She has to convince Yellow Diamond of what matters most here.

“The organic ecosystem creates resources unique to this world.” Things like rain, or decomposition, or even the incredibly complex food chain that the world perpetuates. Every single aspect of this planet is a system so perfect and self-sustaining that Peridot just can’t imagine it shutting down for something so base as a weapon. “We can’t sacrifice all that potential just for one geoweapon!”

She can feel Yellow Diamond’s gaze hardening even more, but Peridot keeps on going. This is her only chance and she has to make it count. “I have come up some plans of my own that will be able to utilize the planet’s resources without disrupting the local ecosystem—”

“Stop,” comes the snap from Yellow Diamond, and Peridot obediently falls silent. Her eyes go as wide as saucers when she hears the next thing that her Diamond says. “I don’t care about potential and resources.”

Despite her fear, she still sputters a confused “W-what?” How could her Diamond not care? Resources are scarce on Homeworld—that's the whole reason why Era 2 gems like her even exist in the first place. There wasn’t enough material to optimize their production, so they were given technological enhancements to make up for it. What Homeworld needed was resources, not weapons. It just didn’t make any sense.

Yellow Diamond, however, is insistent. “I want my Cluster, and I want that planet to die. Just make that happen.”

No!” The answer tumbles out from Peridot’s mouth before she can stop it.

The look Yellow Diamond gives her at that very moment probably would have been lethal enough to shatter her if they were actually in the same physical space. “Are you questioning my authority?”

Peridot quickly scrambles to try and salvage the situation—not that there’s much to salvage, at this point. “I’m—I’m questioning your objectivity!” A pause, then she adds, almost as an afterthought, “My Diamond.” She knows now that she’s in for it. But there’s no way she can just let this just slide. How can she, when it's becoming increasingly clear that Yellow Diamond isn’t making what should be a rational, objective decision? It doesn't make sense. It doesn’t make any sense at all. Surely this had to be an oversight, or something. There’s no way that Yellow Diamond could be this illogical.

“You are out of line, 3RK8.” Yellow Diamond’s face is close to the screen now, and the weight of her gaze is stronger than ever. Just the strength of it feels like it could crush her if she isn’t careful enough.

“I just,” she starts, still trying because what else is she supposed to do? “I just think, possibly, that if—”

“I’m not interested in the puny thoughts of a Peridot.” The last word is hissed, angry and derisive, and Peridot shrinks even more, feeling small and helpless and oh so out of her comfort zone. Things weren’t supposed to be like this. Why is this happening? She doesn’t understand at all.

“My Diamond,” she attempts one last time. “I just… I just—”

“You have disrespected this channel and my time with your insignificant presence,” Yellow Diamond’s voice is a snap now, every word like a dagger that carves a deeper notch into Peridot’s gem. “You would do well to actually listen and—”


Shut. Your. Mouth.

Peridot instantly clamps her mouth shut. Panic edges into her every thought. She’s definitely done it now. She’s angered her Diamond, which is the worst thing to do, but she has to know, she has to understand. She wouldn’t go to this extent if it wasn’t important.

“You have failed at every stage of this mission.” There’s a snarl on Yellow Diamond’s face now, her displeasure and anger all too evident and Peridot wishes she could somehow shrink entirely, to hide somewhere instead of being here and having to go through all of… this. This thing that shouldn’t even be happening. Where did she go wrong?

“Your only chance to redeem yourself is to obey this simple order. You are to leave the Cluster to grow. It will tear apart the Earth and I will take immense satisfaction in erasing that pitiful, hideous rock off our star maps. Is. That. Clear?

No, it's not clear. Nothing about this is clear. Yellow Diamond should have understood, should have been rational, should have been objective and logical instead of being so… so wrong. It's in that moment where Peridot understands with a sudden clarity to everything—the fact that her Diamond isn’t perfect. That Yellow Diamond is just as flawed and impure and there is no way, no way that she could understand the value of Earth. Not when she hasn’t been here herself.

Even as terrifying as it is, Peridot blurts out her answer, and she has never felt more certain about it in her entire life. “I won’t do it. I can’t do it!”

Yellow Diamond looks stunned, clearly caught off guard that a lowly Peridot like herself would dare question her to this extent, and Peridot uses the chance to push forward. This may be the only time she can get to speak before being destroyed—or worse. “I—I can tell you with certainty that there are things on this planet worth protecting! It’s completely illogical to destroy all this life just because you or anybody else hates this planet! Not when there’s so much potential!”

The anger on Yellow Diamond’s face is outright terrifying now. “What would you know about Earth?” she spits out.

What would she know? Really? After all this time, after everything? Rage boils through her, hot and thick and violent, a feeling so visceral that the clarity it brings to her is hardly as shocking. Yellow Diamond, who is nothing like the perfect being that Peridot had expected all her life. Yellow Diamond, who would be so petty and irrational to let an entire ecosystem die just because she desired it. Yellow Diamond, who should have been the answer to her woes but instead is the worst one of them all.

“What would I know?” she shoots back, letting the anger direct her because she’s had enough of obeying and keeping quiet, not when the gem she has been made for would be so willing to make such a big, fatal mistake despite being aware of the consequences. Who doesn’t care for the ones who so willingly serve her. There’s no way she can just follow orders so blindly like before. “Apparently, more than you, you—you clod!”

It only takes Peridot half a second to realize what she’s just done once the words leave her mouth. Yellow Diamond’s rage takes on a whole new level, but before she can say or do anything in response Peridot quickly cuts the connection. That was—she just—

Oh, stars. She is so utterly doomed.

Log Date 7 15 2
I… I have just insulted Yellow Diamond to the highest degree. I went against my orders and my Diamond’s wishes and called her a clod to her face! I can’t believe I just did that. I can’t ever return to Homeworld now after what I’ve done. I’m a traitorous clod. I don’t want to ever think about this ever again!!

Log Date 7 15 2-2
Hank says that he’s proud of what I’ve done.

Perhaps… it is not so bad, after all, to be here on Earth.